Humane Society International applauds the Senate of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for passing a bill on Dec. 9 to curb the cruel and wasteful practice of shark finning. The bill would prohibit any person from possessing, selling, offering for sale, trading, or distributing shark fins in the commonwealth. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives in November.
“Humane Society International commends Senator Jude Untalan Hofschneider, Senate President Paul Atalig Manglona, House Speaker Froilan C. Tenorio and Rep. Diego Tenorio Benavente for their leadership, and local advocates for their support,” said Iris Ho, wildlife campaign manager for HSI. With the nearby island nations, such as Palau and Maldives implementing shark protection policy in recent months the passage of this bill shows the world that the Northern Mariana Islands are the latest in the region committed to international shark and ocean conservation. HSI calls on Governor Beigno R. Fitial to support this important legislation.
Kelly Hu, a renowned Hollywood actress of Asian and Hawaiian descent, said, “I was pleased to join Hawaii lawmaker, Senator Clayton Hee, earlier this year when Hawaii became the first in the world to pass legislation banning shark fins. The passage of the bill in the CNMI reinforces Pacific Islanders’ passion for, and dedication to, protecting the sharks and the oceans.”
- Tens of millions of sharks are killed each year. Many of them are killed to meet the demand for shark fin soup, a Chinese delicacy. Shark populations cannot sustain the current slaughter rates.
- Sharks are apex predators whose survival affects all other marine species and entire oceanic ecosystems.
- Shark finning is a cruel and wasteful practice that involves slicing off a shark’s fins and throwing the body – often while the shark is still alive – back into the water.
- Earlier this year, Hawaii enacted legislation banning the possession, sale and distribution of shark fins. It was the first of its kind in the world and has prompted other U.S. states and global nations to introduce similar legislation.
- It would penalize any person with an administrative fine of not less than $5,000 and not more than $30,000 and/or with imprisonment for not more than six months.